THE West Somerset community has been shocked by the tragic death of well-known landowner and Conservative politician Anthony Trollope-Bellew.

Mr Trollope-Bellew is understood to have died shortly after falling from a vehicle and hitting his head on his land on the edge of the Quantock Hills on Friday.

He leaves a widow Annabel and two daughters.

Mr Trollope-Bellew lived in Crowcombe and is a former leader of the now disbanded West Somerset District Council and was still serving on Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT).

West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger paid tribute to Mr Trollope-Bellew, whose death represented a ‘huge loss to the Quantock community’.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “The family name has been synonymous with the area for decades and Anthony was one of the most respected members of the local farming community.

“I had known him ever since becoming MP here 21 years ago and have always had great admiration for the way he managed the two family estates.

“But more impressive still was the way he devoted himself to public service as a district and county councillor and as chairman of the Quantock Commoners.

“His knowledge of and love for the area made him a true champion of the Quantocks, one who represented and boldly spoke up for the interests of local families on countless occasions.

“I know he was held in enormous esteem locally and there are many, many families who have been shocked by his untimely death and whose thoughts are now with the family Anthony has left behind.”

Exmoor Conservative Cllr Steven Pugsley, also a former leader of West Somerset Council, said: “It is shocking and very sudden.

“I was sitting next to him on Tuesday evening at the SWT council meeting chatting to him about just having his hip replaced and he was taking a full part in the affairs of the locality as he always had done for so many years.

“He was the sort of person who led from the front. If he was involved in an organisation he would do his bit fully rather than leave it to anyone else to do it.

“Although he had not run for the new unitary council, he was still someone who very much participated in local affairs and I am sure he would have continued like that.”

Fellow SWT Cllr Benet Allen, of Minehead, said: “In February, 2018, Anthony was quick to make me feel welcome, as a newly-elected councillor, to what was then West Somerset Council, based in Williton.

“Almost immediately, we set about the process of merging with Taunton Deane - choosing a new chief executive along the way, in the first of what has become a series of local government reorganisations.

“Cllr Trollope-Bellew was a true Tory of the old school - patrician, yes, but that came with the landowning territory.

“He served from a sense of public duty and was unfailingly charming and affable to his fellows of all parties.

“His steady hand, and willingness to serve alongside his political rivals, will be sadly missed by all of us at Somerset West and Taunton.”

The Free Press initially mistakenly reported some of the detail of the incident and we apologise for the distress which this would have caused to the family.